Saturday, December 4, 2010

Reading, or Loving Books

This was part of an assignment for school when I was a junior.  I might post the rest at some point, but I loved these pieces.  Lucille, if you're reading this (I bet you aren't), thank you for assigning this!  Perhaps some of the best writing I've ever done.  

I am a lover of books.  I devour them whole, the taste of plot and paper and ink mingling on my tongue and in my throat.  I crawled into stories as a little girl, wrapped tight around fairytales in footsie pajamas, milk in hand.  I fell in at seven, eight, nine, ten, I hit the ground with scrapes and cuts, I got sick and took my refuge where other people ran and jumped and played.  I wandered in at eleven and twelve, day-dreamingly losing myself in an elsewhere I had no hope of joining, sailing away with Odysseus and finding true love with Elizabeth Bennett.
I read in bed, covered in quilts and lying down, arm aching from holding my book upright.  I read by the kitchen fire, feet almost beneath the woodstove, back pressed against the refrigerator.  I read curled on the couch and sprawled on the floor and sitting tightly on the train.  I read in trees and on the beach and on camping trips.  I read, in short, everywhere.
I read fast.  I finish readings meant for an hour in twenty minutes or less, I read whole novels in one sitting, I lose track of time until what feels like a whole eon inside the book is simply fifteen minutes.  As such, I cannot read aloud - my head is faster than my mouth.  I get annoyed with myself for simply breathing and lose where I am, already a page ahead of where my breath was.
I read everything.  I read James Joyce and Le Petit Prince and Nietzsche in one weekend.  I read the throwaway newspaper on the subway and the Sunday New York Times cover-to-cover.  I read music and words until I'm full - or at least satiated.  I read Victorian novels the most, though, the wind on the heath wuthering in my dreams, the house at Pemberly rising like a pearl from the middle of the Lake Country.  I read them over and over again until I know them by heart and whisper along with the characters.
I lust for books.  I want and want and there's never enough.  I am addicted to books, the words and stories crawling through my veins and rising like smoke from the air I exhale.  There is always a certain amount of pain when I am not reading, a desire to launch myself in, to ease the suffering, to satiate the thirst, to relieve the undeniable want.  So back again I go to those never-ending feasts of words, those entire pages, chapters, novels, those piles of stories ripe and filling and addicting.  I am a lover of books. How can I not be?

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